Vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s & One-Bowl Dinners

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s are just as good as the meat version, without the meat. This Vegetarian Sloppy Joe recipe makes a great base for several meals.

I will present how to use Vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s in several ways: as a One-Bowl Sloppy Joe dinner, One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Soup, One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Pie, and of course the traditional Sloppy Joe sandwich.

Plus, I give you ideas for how to use these recipes to have an easy, no-reheat lunches.

One-Bowl Dinner
One-Bowl Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Dinner

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Dec. 1, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Ingredients for Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

110 grams firm or extra-firm Tofu

15 to 30 mL (1 to 2 tbsp) Soy Sauce

110 grams (1/2 box) mushrooms, finely chopped

1/8 onion & 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped, if desired

Sunflower or Canola oil for frying

1 tomato, diced

75 grams Spinach, fresh or frozen, chopped

35 to 40 grams (slightly less than 1/4 cup) red lentils, raw

75 mL (1/3 cup) tomato or vegetable juice

15 mL (1 tbsp) Balsamic vinegar, vegetable concentrate, soy sauce, lemon juice, ketchup, each

15 to 20 mL (1 to 1.5 tbsp) oat flakes

Dash of Coriander

5 mL (1 tsp) salt, pepper, herb mixture, each

75 mL (1/3 cup) water, or slightly more

Preparation of Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Here you can view the video where I cook the meat and vegetarian versions of Sloppy Joe’s and make a one-bowl dinner with roasted vegetables.

In a frying pan or casserole pan (see recommendations on pans below) add a little oil and sauté the mushrooms, onion, and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

While this is cooking, crumble the tofu with your fingers and mix in the soy sauce. Add the tofu mixture, tomatoes, spinach, red lentils, oat flakes, and the liquids to the pan with the mushrooms, onion, and garlic.

Stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the seasoning and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. If you need to add more water, do so.

Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning to your taste. You may want to add more lemon or tomato juice, salt, or pepper, as well as water if you want more liquid.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

To use the mixture as a Sloppy Joe topping take your favourite type of bread and toast it, or not, as you wish. Put on your favourite condiment. I like mustard or cheese. Spoon the hot topping onto the bread. Top with roasted vegetables and serve.

Sloppy Joe's
Vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s

Easy, No-Reheat Lunches with Vegetarian Sloppy Joes 

In your lunch bag, you can toast your bread, pack the Vegetarian Sloppy Joe mixture (warmed up), in a thermos and pack a small container of your condiment. Then assemble the lunch when you are ready-to-eat.

You can warm up the soup or pie and pack it in a thermos for an easy no-reheat lunch.

This rugged, 16-ounce thermos will keep your food hot or cold and it comes with a folding spoon.

Here is an 18-ounce version or a 10-ounce version.

Meal Ideas for Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Other ways you can use this recipe.

One-Bowl Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Dinner

Put cooked rice, quinoa, or noodles in a bowl, add this topping, then add the roasted vegetables and a topping of your choice like salsa or sour cream. For this recipe, a little more sauce is a good thing to soak into the rice or quinoa. Serve hot.

One-Bowl Dinner
One-Bowl Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Dinner

Vegetarian One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Soup

Add the Sloppy Joe mixture and cooked rice or noodles to tomato, or carrot soup to make a hearty stew and another one-bowl meal.

Soup
Vegetarian One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Soup

Vegetarian One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Pie

Put the Sloppy Joe mixture in a casserole dish, top with canned or frozen corn, or frozen peas, and then mashed potatoes to make a Sloppy Joe Pie. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. For this dish, you may want to not add too much water to the Sloppy Joe mixture.

Vegetarian One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Pie

This pie has a mashed potato topping like a Shepherd’s Pie but with the Sloppy Joe filling. Delicious. Fast, easy, healthy.

Equipment Needed To Make Vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s

It is best to have a frying or sautée pan for this recipe. I like cast iron but any large frying pan will work. However, cast iron or stainless steel are regarded as the best as they are heavy and thick which will prevent the meat from burning and sticking to the pan. The pan needs to be large so that the contents do not slop over the sides and out of the pan.

11 ” Cast Iron Pan

I prefer cast iron because they provide even heat, and are easy to clean. However, if you have a glass top cooker, you need to be very careful not to drop the pan on the cooktop or pull it across the top. The weight of the pan could break the glass top and pulling heavy objects across the cooker and scratch the glass.

9.5 ” Stainless Steel Fryer

9.5 ” Non-Stick Fryer with lid

These two pans are not as heavy as cast iron but still have are thick enough to provide even heat for the cooking.

Cuisinart 5.5 Quart Casserole Pan

High Quality, Heat Resistant Stirring Spoon – A heat resistant spoon is a good idea so that it doesn’t melt if you accidentally leave it on the pan.

Measuring Cups & Spoons – I like this set because the cups and spoons nest inside each other and they have comfortable handles.

I really like plastic containers for freezing meals, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.

Rubbermaid Plastic Food Storage Containers, set of 21

 

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and ideas. Leave me a comment and let me know what other recipes you would like me to share.

Cooking A Show Of Love


 

Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joes & One-Bowl Dinners

Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joes are your meat-based Sloppy Joe’s with extra vegetables and legumes added. Just as delicious as the original but with more fiber, nutrition, and flavour.  That’s why I call it, Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joe’s. Try this recipe version and let me know what you think. It will increase your fiber and nutrition for the day.

At the end of the post, in addition to how to make a Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joe sandwich, three other meals that you can make with Sloppy Joe’s are presented: One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Dinner, One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Soup, One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Pie.

Sloppy Joe's
Sloppy Joe’s

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Nov. 25, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Ingredients for Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joes

450 grams (1 pound) ground beef

150 grams of frozen spinach or fresh

75 grams (1/3 cup) of red lentils

1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped

100 grams (1 cup) of mushrooms, chopped

1/2 onion, diced

1 garlic clove, crushed, if desired

125 to 150 mL (1/4 to 1/2 cup) water, possibly more depending on how much liquid you want

65 (1/4 cup) tomato sauce or 125 mL (1/2 cup) tomato juice

Dash or 1/4 tsp of mustard powder, and dried coriander

30 mL (2 tbsp) ketchup, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce

5 mL (1 tsp) salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, or herb mixture

Canola or sunflower oil for sautéeing

Preparation of Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joes

Here you can view the video where I cook the meat and vegetarian versions of Sloppy Joe’s and make a one-bowl dinner with roasted vegetables.

In a frying pan or casserole pan (see recommendations on pans below) add a little oil and sauté the mushrooms, onion, and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook for 2 more minutes, making sure to chop the ground beef into little pieces as it cooks.

Add the red lentils, water, spinach, tomato juice or sauce, and the other liquids and let the mixture simmer, stirring frequently and making sure the ground beef is chopped into little pieces.

When the ground beef is almost cooked add the seasoning. Let the mixture simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to cook the lentils. If you need to add more water, please do so.

Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning to your taste. You may want to add more lemon or tomato juice, salt, or pepper, as well as water if you want more liquid.

Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joes

To use the mixture as a Sloppy Joe topping take your favourite type of bread and toast it, or not, as you wish. Put on your favourite condiment. I like mustard or cheese. Spoon the hot topping onto the bread. Top with roasted vegetables and serve.

Easy, No-Reheat Lunches with Vegetarian Sloppy Joes 

In your lunch bag, you can toast your bread, pack the Vegetarian Sloppy Joe mixture (warmed up), in a thermos and pack a small container of your condiment. Then assemble the lunch when you are ready-to-eat.

You can warm up the soup or pie and pack it in a thermos for an easy no-reheat lunch.

This rugged, 16-ounce thermos will keep your food hot or cold and it comes with a folding spoon.

Here is an 18-ounce version or a 10-ounce version.

Meal Ideas for Plant-It-Up Sloppy Joes

Other ways you can use this recipe.

One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Dinner

Put cooked rice, quinoa, or noodles in a bowl, add this topping, then add the roasted vegetables and a topping of your choice like salsa or sour cream. For this recipe, a little more sauce is a good thing to soak the rice or quinoa. Serve hot.

One-Bowl Dinner
One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Dinner

One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Soup

Add the Sloppy Joe mixture and cooked rice or noodles to tomato, or carrot soup to make a hearty stew and another one-bowl meal.

Soup
Sloppy Joe Soup

One-Bowl Sloppy Joe Pie

Put the Sloppy Joe mixture in a casserole dish, top with canned or frozen corn, and then mashed potatoes to make a Sloppy Joe Pie. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. For this dish, you may want to not add too much water to the Sloppy Joe mixture.

Sloppy Joe Pie

This pie has a mashed potato topping like a Shepherd’s Pie but with the Sloppy Joe filling. Delicious.

NOTE: The vegetarian version of this meal is coming soon.

Equipment Needed To Make Sloppy Joe’s

It is best to have a frying or sautée pan for this recipe. I like cast iron but any large frying pan will work. However, cast iron or stainless steel are regarded as the best as they are heavy and thick which will prevent the meat from burning and sticking to the pan. The pan needs to be large so that the contents do not slop over the sides and out of the pan.

11 ” Cast Iron Pan

I prefer cast iron because they provide even heat, and are easy to clean. However, if you have a glass top cooker, you need to be very careful not to drop the pan on the cooktop or pull it across the top. The weight of the pan could break the glass top and pulling heavy objects across the cooker and scratch the glass.

9.5 ” Stainless Steel Fryer

9.5 ” Non-Stick Fryer with lid

These two pans are not as heavy as cast iron but still have are thick enough to provide even heat for the cooking.

Cuisinart 5.5 Quart Casserole Pan

High Quality, Heat Resistant Stirring Spoon – A heat resistant spoon is a good idea so that it doesn’t melt if you accidentally leave it on the pan.

Measuring Cups & Spoons – I like this set because the cups and spoons nest inside each other and they have comfortable handles.

I really like plastic containers for freezing meals, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.

Rubbermaid Plastic Food Storage Containers, set of 21

 

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and ideas. Leave me a comment and let me know what other recipes you would like me to share.

Cooking A Show Of Love


 

Guinness No-Beef, Vegetarian Stew

Guinness No-Beef Vegetarian Stew is a delicious, no-meat version of the classic Guinness Beef Stew.  This vegetarian version is just as delicious, with beans, and is just as hearty as the beef version.

This stew can be made in a slow cooker or a pot, as you wish.

Guinness Beef Stew
Guinness Beef Stew

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Nov. 16, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

How To Make Guinness No-Beef, Vegetarian Stew

Ingredients for Guinness No-Beef, Vegetarian Stew

1000 – 2000 mL (4 – 8 cups)  mushroom or vegetable stock

1 can Guinness beer

1 can black, kidney, or mixed beans, drained & rinsed

2 celery sticks, chopped

2 carrots, cubed

75 grams turnip, diced

2 potatoes, cubed

1 tomato, diced

100 grams mushrooms, diced

1/8 onion, diced

1/3 cup lentils, optional

Oil for sautéeing

Salt, pepper, seasoning, thyme

10 mL each lemon juice & balsamic vinegar

10 mL of vegetable concentrate

30 mL butter and flour for the roux

Preparation for Guinness No-Beef, Vegetarian Stew

Add 1.5 (6 cups) mL of stock and the beer to the pot. Save the remaining 2 cups and add if the stew is too thick or if a lot of liquid evaporates.

Sautée the onions for 2 to 3 minutes. They do not need to be completely cooked. You may need to add more oil. Add the onions to the liquid.

I like to very lightly sautée the other vegetables, but you can just put them straight into the liquid if you prefer. Giving the vegetables a light sautée adds a little extra flavour. Add the lentils.

Note: I add lentils because they increase the fiber but do not change the taste or texture. You can the lentils or not as you wish.

Add a small amount of pepper and seasoning. Save the remaining ingredients for later.

If you are using a pot, stir and slowly bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the stew simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours. Stir it every 30 minutes. If there is too little liquid add some water or stock.

If you are using a slow cooker, give it at least 6 hours of cooking time. Or you can let it cook for up to 8 hours. Stir every hour or so.

Making the roux to thicken the gravy

Put the butter in a saucepan and melt it over a gentle heat. Slowly add the flour, stirring the entire time so that there are no lumps. When the flour is evenly mixed, add a small amount of the stew liquid, and stir it in until it is completely mixed. Add a little more stew liquid and stir it very well until it is mixed in and there are no lumps. Do this four or five more times until the roux is very liquid and smooth.

Mix the roux into the stew and slowly bring the stew to a boil, stirring frequently. Let simmer for one minute while stirring all the time. Remove from the heat.

Add the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you wish.

Serve the stew hot in bowls with a spoonful of mashed potatoes on the top. Here is my recipe for Mashed Potatoes.

Note: The alcohol in the beer will evaporate during the cooking process. So this stew is appropriate for the entire family.

Do you prefer to eat beef stew? Check out my meat version of this stew here, Guinness Beef Stew.

The stew is good in the refrigerator for four days or it can be frozen.

Check out the live video here. Making Guinness Beef Stew.

Equipment Needed To Make Stock

A stockpot is very useful because the making of a stock involves a lot of water. Having a good-sized stockpot means that you can make bigger batches, which is more efficient.

Check out these links with the tools you need to make Vegetable Stock.

Stock Pot, 20 quart

Stock Pot, 16 quart

Stock Pot, 12 Quart

Soup Ladle, stainless steel with a cool, grip handle

Soup Ladle, silicone

Stainless Steel Bowl Set with Lids

Oxo Easy-Grip Bowls 3-Set

I really like plastic containers for freezing stock, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.

Rubbermaid Plastic Food Storage Containers, set of 21

 

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Cooking A Show Of Love


 

Guinness Beef Stew

This stew can be made in a slow cooker or a pot. I prefer the slow cooker method because the beef stays tender and the flavours have time to blend.

Guinness Beef Stew
Guinness Beef Stew

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Nov. 9, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

How To Make Guinness Beef Stew

Ingredients for Guinness Beef Stew

2 mL (8 cups) stock, beef, or any other

1 can Guinness beer

450 kg (1 pound) beef, cubed

4 celery sticks

3 carrots, cubed

100 grams turnip, diced

4 potatoes, cubed

3 tomatoes, diced

1/4 onion, diced

1/2 cup lentils, optional

Flour & oil for searing

Salt, pepper, seasoning, thyme

15 mL each Lemon Juice & Balsamic vinegar

15 mL Beef concentrate

Preparation for Guinness Beef Stew

Cut the beef into bite-sized cubes. Roll the cubes in the flour until coated. Heat the oil in a skillet and sear the beef until most of the sides are lightly browned. You do not need to cook the beef just partially cook the outside.

Add the stock and beer to the pot. Put the seared beef cubes in the pot.

Sautée the onions for 2 to 3 minutes. They do not need to be completely cooked. You may need to add more oil. Add the onions to the liquid with the beef.

I like to very lightly sautée the other vegetables, but you can just put them straight into the liquid if you prefer. Giving the vegetables a light sautée adds a little extra flavour. Add the lentils.

Note: I add lentils because they increase the fiber but do not change the taste or texture. You can the lentils or not as you wish.

Add a small amount of pepper and seasoning. Save the remaining ingredients for later.

Stir and let cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours. Stirring every 2 hours. If you use a pot, slowly bring the stew to a boil then reduce it to a slow simmer for 2 hours.

After 6 hours in the slow cooker or 2 hours in the pot add the remaining ingredients. Let the stew continue cooking until it has had 8 hours in the slow cooker or 2.75 to 3 hours in the pot.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as you wish.

Serve the stew hot in bowls with a spoonful of mashed potatoes on the top. Here is my recipe for Mashed Potatoes.

Note: The alcohol in the beer will evaporate during the cooking process. So this stew is appropriate for the entire family.

Do you prefer to eat vegetarian? Check out my vegetarian version of this stew here.

The stew is good in the refrigerator for four days or it can be frozen.

Check out the live video here. Making Guinness Beef Stew.

Equipment Needed To Make Stock

A stockpot is very useful because the making of a stock involves a lot of water. Having a good-sized stockpot means that you can make bigger batches, which is more efficient.

Check out these links with the tools you need to make Vegetable Stock.

Stock Pot, 20 quart

Stock Pot, 16 quart

Stock Pot, 12 Quart

Soup Ladle, stainless steel with a cool, grip handle

Soup Ladle, silicone

Stainless Steel Bowl Set with Lids

Oxo Easy-Grip Bowls 3-Set

I really like plastic containers for freezing stock, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.

Rubbermaid Plastic Food Storage Containers, set of 21

 

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Cooking A Show Of Love


 

Mini Pita Pizza | A Fast, Easy, Healthy Lunch Idea

A great idea for a fast, healthy, easy lunch that you can eat anyplace and anytime for anyone. This lunch is fast and easy to make, can be packed in a bag and eaten at room temperature. The mini pita pizzas taste good and are healthy. Whether you are home or traveling, at school or work, this lunch idea is the answer for people that need something fast, easy, and healthy to eat.

Mini Pita Pizza
Mini Pita Pizzas

Ingredients for Mini Pita Pizza

Mini pitas

Tip: This is a great way to use mini pitas that are not fresh and getting harder.

1 tomato or several cherry tomatoes, diced

Soft cheese,

Bell pepper, diced

Onion, diced

Hard cheese, grated

Tomato or pizza sauce

Here is the video with this recipe. Check it out.

https://youtu.be/g3ciN-99jbM

Preparation for Mini Pita Pizza

Put the diced tomato in a sieve over a bowl and push as much of the water out of the tomatoes, as possible.

Spread the tomato sauce over the mini pitas. Sprinkle the soft cheese. Add the peppers and onions. Sprinkle the grated, hard cheese. Add the tomatoes.

Tip: I like to use a pizza pan with the holes but you can use a regular cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 F for about 6 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the pita are golden brown.

Hint: This pizza is delicious hot but it can be kept in the fridge for up to four days.

You can also pack it for lunch with an ice pack, remove it from the ice pack thirty minutes before you want to eat so that it can warm up to room temperature, and enjoy.

Of course, you can also use regular size pitas for this recipe.

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Cooking A Show Of Love


 

Toasted Fish Wrap | A Fast, Healthy, Easy Lunch

Toasted Fish Wrap is a fast, healthy, easy lunches that you can eat anyplace and anytime for anyone. This lunch is fast and easy to make, can be packed in a bag with an ice pack, removed from the ice thirty minutes before eating, and eaten at room temperature. It tastes good and is healthy. Whether you are home or traveling, at school or work, this lunch idea is the answer for people that need something fast, easy, and healthy to eat.

Toasted Fish Wrap
Toasted Fish Wrap & Side Salad

Ingredients for Toasted Fish Wrap

Corn or flour tortilla

1 can tuna fish, drained

3 pieces pickled beets, diced

1 pickle, diced

Onion, diced, if desired

15 mL olive oil

5 mL balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper, to taste

Goat cheese or any soft cheese

Salsa

Hot sauce, as a topping

Check out the video for this recipe here:

https://youtu.be/g3ciN-99jbM

Preparation for Toasted Fish Wrap

If the tortilla is frozen, warm it in the oven until thawed and pat dry with a towel. Brush a small amount of the olive oil on the inside of the tortilla. Sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper.

Mix together all the ingredients except the cheese, salsa, and hot sauce.

Put the fish filling in the middle of the tortilla. Add the salsa. Add the cheese. Roll the tortilla and broil for 2 minutes.

Put the tortilla on a plate with a side of salad and drizzle hot sauce or more salsa on top.

Note:  This wrap can be refrigerated for three days.

Note: The wrap can also be packed in a lunch bag with an ice pack for a portable meal. Remove the tortilla from the ice pack thirty minutes before eating so it can warm up to room temperature and enjoy.

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Cooking A Show Of Love


 

Great Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas For You, Your Home & Kitchen | 11 Gifts

Here are eleven eco-friendly gift ideas that I’m using in a gift basket. These eco-friendly gift ideas are for the home and kitchen and they are appropriate for anyone.

Gifts
Eco-Friendly Gifts

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Oct. 30, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas – Food Storage Solutions

Debbie Meyer Green Boxes

Debbie Meyer Green Boxes are food storage boxes created to improve the storage time of produce, fruits, vegetables, and some staples like bread. They work. They keep foods fresh longer, are washable in the dishwasher and are well-made and durable.

They come in a set of sixteen boxes in three different sizes with lids. They are food-grade, BPA-free, and safe for the microwave and the fridge as well as the dishwasher.

Stasher Stand-Up Bags

Stasher Stand-Up Bags are made of food-grade silicone. They hold up to 56 ounces and can be put in the dishwasher, the freezer, the microwave, boiling water, and the oven up to 400 F. This model has a large bottom and a ziplock lid so it makes a great storage solution for food and can be used for cooking. The Stasher bags are very durable and reusable and make great containers to store, carry, or cook food.

They come in Clear or Aqua.

Collapsible Silicone Containers

Collapsible Silicone Containers are a great food storage solution. They collapse so they take very little space to store, but when opened increase in size by three-fold and can hold a lot of food.

These ones come in a set of four and they are safe for the dishwasher. freezer and microwave and are PBA-free. They have snap-lock lids so they are also leak-proof and air-tight. They make a great storage solution.

Roll-Up Silicone Bag

Roll-Up Silicone Bags are very useful as they can be rolled up for storage and take very little space. They are made of food-grade silicone, they are PBA-free and can be used for freezing, microwaving, sous-vide cooking, marinating, and cooking up to 260 C. They are leak-proof, hold 1000 mL (4 cups), and can also be used as lunch bags. Useful and easy-to-wash.

They come as a set of three bags.

Check out the companion video here:

Ziplock Silicone Storage Bags

Ziplock Silicone Storage Bags are so useful and the ziplock closure makes them leak-proof as well. These bags are PBA-free and come with twelve silicone storage lids, in four sizes, that you can use instead of plastic wrap. The set includes six bags and twelve lids.

Silicone Storage Lids

Silicone Storage Lids in a set of twelve lids of six different sizes. If you just want the lids then here is a great option. They are stretchable, washable, and eliminate the need for disposable plastic wrap.

PEVA Reusable Food Storage Bags

PEVA Reusable Food Storage Bags are made of PBA-free PEVA material and are washable and reusable. They come with a ziplock closure so they are leakproof. This is a set of twelve bags in three different sizes.

Silicone Storage Bags with Slide Lid

Silicone Storage Bags with Slide Lid are another option for silicone storage bags. These bags hold 1000 mL (4 cups), are PBA-free, and come in a set of four bags. They can be put in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher, and fridge. With the slide-closing lid they are also leak-proof.

Debbie Meyer Green Bags

Debbie Meyer Green Bags are a good choice for storing produce, fruits, and vegetables.  They are PBA-free. They are washable up to 200 times and help food stay fresh longer. They come in a set of twenty bags of three different sizes. Make sure to only rinse them with water, not soap.

Net Bags

Net Bags are a great choice for a gift. With net bags, you no longer need to use the plastic bags at the grocery store to protect your fruits, vegetables, and produce. Plus they are just generally really useful. You can use them to store and carry all kinds of items. They are inexpensive and can be washed. This is a set of twelve in three different sizes.

There are many brands but this brand of net bags comes with the weight of the bag on a tag sewed into the seam so that your grocer can remove the weight of the bag from the weight of the product for items that are purchased by weight. This is a set of 10.

Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas – Laundry Solutions

Tru Earth Laundry Strips

Tru Earth Laundry Strips are an eco-friendly solution instead of laundry liquid or crystals that come in plastic containers. The plastic containers can often be recycled but much of our recyclable plastic ends up in landfills. Tru Earth laundry stips come in a cardboard envelope that can be recycled. They come in different packaging quantities and there are three types:

Tru Earth Fragrance-Free Laundry Strips

Tru Earth Fresh Linen Laundry Strips

Tru Earth Baby Laundry Strips

Tru Earth Wool Dryer Balls

Tru Earth Wool Dryer Balls are a way to reduce the static cling of your clothes in the dryer thus preventing them from sticking to each other. With these dryer balls, you no longer need to use anti-static dryer sheets which can not be recycled and may not be healthy for the home. Plus the wool dryer balls bounce around and cause your clothes to move better in the rotating drum so that your clothes dry faster. Wool dryer balls generally cut your dryer time by 10 to 25 percent. And they can be reused for years.

I have been using all of these products for at least three months, some for six months and I am impressed with their reliability and performance.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Please comment. I would love to know what you think.


 

 

 

11 Great Gift Ideas Under 35 Dollars for Kitchen and Home

Here are 11 great gift ideas under 35 dollars for your kitchen, at home or work, and for your home. Many of these ideas are less than 25 dollars. These gifts are good for any occasion, most people and for home or work. Plus they are useful, practical and durable.

Gift
Gift

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Oct. 21, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Great Gift Ideas For The Kitchen

Silicone Baking Mats

 

Silicone Baking Mat
Silicone Baking Mat

Silicone baking mats are great because they perform really well as a baking surface, you do not need to use oil and you do not use parchment paper which goes to waste and then to landfill. They provide even heat, are easy to wash and store and are very durable. You use them on top of your regular metal baking sheet.

These ones are from Culinary Couture, a set of three, in different sizes.

Or, you can buy one large baking mat.

Lazy Susan

Lazy Susan’s are so useful for storing in areas where the back of the cupboard is hard to reach. This one is 18 inches across but you can get them smaller. I love Lazy Susan’s in my cupboard because they save my knees and back.

Here is an 18-inch Lazy Susan.

Here is a 12-inch Lazy Susan.

Bamboo Cutting Boards

Bamboo Cutting Board
Bamboo Cutting Board

Bamboo is a sturdy, washable cutting surface that is gentle on your knives. Plus bamboo is lighter than wood so it is less heavy to manipulate the bigger boards. Bamboo cutting boards are easy to wash, maintain, and are very functional. They come in many sizes.

Bamboo cutting boards, set of 3 different sizes.

Bamboo cutting board, 11 by 15 inches.

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

Stainless steel mixing bowls are durable, non-reactive with most foods, easy-to-clean, and light-weight. This is a set of six bowls of different sizes so they stack inside each other and take very little room in your cupboard. Stainless steel bowls are so practical and strong.

Stainless Steel Bowls, set of 6.

Stasher Silicone Bags

Stasher silicone stand-up bag with a large bottom. This bag is large enough to hold a large lunch or a lot of food. It is self-standing because of the wide bottom, it is leak-proof and it has a ziplock top. It is made of premium food-grade silicone by Stasher, a reputable company. These bags can be refrigerated, frozen, microwaved, and used for cooking as well as being able to be washed in the dishwasher. With silicone bags, you no longer use disposable plastic bags to store your food.

Clear Stasher Stand-Up Silicone Bag

Aqua Stasher Stand-Up Silicone Bag

4-Slot Stand-Up Storage Racks

Storage racks are useful for storing large items horizontally. I use these to store baking sheets, cutting boards, and other large items that take a lot of space if they are stored flat and fall all over the place if they are stored standing up. This is a set of 2 racks made out of metal.

Bakewear Organizer Rack

Pot and Pan Lid Organizer Rack

Wide-Slot Toasters

Wide-slot toasters are very useful for people that like to toast bagels, crumpets, English muffins, and other bread products that are wider than normal. If you know someone that likes all these pastries but doesn’t have a side-slot toaster at home or work, then this is a great gift idea. And they come in different colours.

Red Wide-Slot Toaster

White Wide-Slot Toaster

Black Wide-Slot Toaster

Electric Kettle

Electric kettles are very useful and safe. They use less electricity than using your stovetop to heat a kettle or a pot. Plus if you get the kind of kettle that has a separate base so that you do not bring the electrical part to the sink to add water and that has an automatic shut-off, it is very safe. Electric kettles are very long-lasting. The one I have now is over twenty years old and still going like a young-un. YOu get very good value for your money, you use less power and they are very safe.

2 Litre Stainless Steel Kettle

1.7 Litre Clear Kettle

1.2 Litre Red Kettle

Coffee Press

Coffee Press
Coffee Press

Coffee presses make excellent coffee, in my opinion, one of the best cups of coffee, because they allow all the flavours and oils of the coffee to be infused into the liquid. I’m not the only that says pressed coffee is excellent. There are many articles that explain why and here is one. In a filter system, some of the oils and flavours are caught by the filter and don’t make it to the coffee. Plus making coffee in a press is easy, fast and the clean-up is also easy.

Kitchly 8-Cup Glass Coffee Press

Bodem 8-Cup Glass Coffee Press

Kitchly Stainless Steel 8-Cup Coffee Press

8-Cup Insulated Coffee Press

Coffee Grinders

Coffee grinders are nice because freshly ground coffee is amazing in taste. Nothing beats the taste of freshly ground coffee. Plus just the smell is equivalent to a cup of coffee. And coffee beans cost less than ground coffee.

I don’t grind all my coffee but when I want a nice cup, I use freshly ground coffee.

Black & Decker Electric Coffee Grinder

Small Electric Coffee Grinder

Manual Coffee Grinder

Great Gift Ideas For The Home

Multi-Function Plug Extender & Surge Protector

What is a multi-function plug extender and surge protector that plugs right into the wall socket? It is a plug extender with 3 spots for plugs, and 4 spots to charge using USB and it is a surge protector. Plus it has two slide-out slots, one on either side, to hold your phone while it is charging.

This gadget is so useful and practical. You can charge multiple things at the same time, have them held in place so they are not falling all over and know that they are protected against surges. This is one of my favourite things to have found recently and I could use one on every floor of the house.

Bestten Wall Plug (3) with USB (4) Surge Protector

Bestten Wall Plug (4) with USB (2) Surge Protector

These gift ideas under 35 dollars are good for any occasion and for most people. Check them out and let me know if you found anything that was useful or made a good gift.

Check out the companion video here.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Please comment. I would love to know what you think.


 

Explore The Cheeses Of Quebec In This Tasting Of 5 Great Cheeses

Quebec is a province in Canada that makes an excellent variety of amazing cheeses. There are almost 200 cheese producers, factory and artisan, in Quebec, and half of the cheese consumed in Canada is produced in Quebec (link in French). Cheese is big business but it is also a big tradition. Here we will explore and taste five great Quebec cheeses some of the best.

Cheese Selection
Selection of cheeses

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Oct. 15, 2020, by Deborah Esplin

Explore The Cheeses Of Quebec

These cheeses are presented in the order from mildest to most robust flavour. Some of these cheeses are made by big international producers and some are made by single-factory artisan producers, but they all represent some of the best and great Quebec cheeses with a variety of tastes that represent the large variety that you find in this area. Enjoy.

Saint-Paulin, a cheese from France made in Quebec

Saint-Paulin Cheese
Saint-Paulin Cheese

Saint-Paulin is a semi-firm, mild cheese. It has a light, creamy colour inside and a bright orange rind on the outside.  It is a very mild tasting cheese with a pleasant, light texture and buttery smoothness on the tongue.

Saint-Paulin was a finalist in the 2015 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

How did Saint-Paulin Start?

Saint-Paulin is a cousin to the French cheese, Port-du-Salut. It was started by Trappist monks in France, who learned cheese-making in Switzerland. As the Trappist monks moved to Canada, they brought the making of Saint-Paulin with them and started making the cheese in a village in Quebec called Saint-Paulin. Saint-Paulin cheese has been produced in Quebec in the Trappist Abbey in Oka since the late nineteenth century. The cheese is still made there, however, Agropur now runs the production of Saint-Paulin and Oka cheese which is made in the same facility. Check out the Oka cheese below.

Pairings for Saint-Paulin

Saint-Paulin, as a mild cheese, goes well with lagers and light beers, white wine and slightly fruity, not robust red wines. This cheese also pairs well with iced tea and light juices like apple or white grape. It also pairs well with fruits and nuts. It can go with delicate butter lettuce, Boston lettuce salad or mild meats like turkey, chicken and whitefish.

Cendré de Lune Alexis de Portneuf, a great Quebec cheese

Brie with Ash
Ashed Brie Cheese

Cendré de lune is a triple cream brie cheese with an ash coating. It is a mild brie cheese with a slightly buttery taste. The ash coating adds an extra layer of flavour, not bitter, pleasant, but slightly sharp or peppery.

This cheese, Cendré de lune, has won multiple awards, around the world, and is an amazing taste experience.

How did Cendré de lune start

Cendré de lune is made by the company, Fromagerie Alexis de Portneuf. How did this cheese start? Alexis Cayer and his wife, Jane Skinner, moved to Portneuf, Quebec in 1842 and started raising cows. As well, they started making cheese and became excellent cheesemakers. Today, the company makes many kinds of cheese in a variety of categories from Brie/Camembert to Blue, Soft, Goat, Semi-Firm, and Firm. I can’t wait to explore more of their cheeses.

The Cendré de Lune cheese has won several awards including Gold in the International Cheese Award in 2018 and Bronze in the Internal Cheese Award 2017.

Pairings for Cendré de lune

Cendré de lune is good on bread, in a sandwich, with fruit, with nuts, and in a salad. It also goes well with white wine, lagers and white beers. Good non-alcoholic choices would be black tea, or coffee and citrus juices. It has enough flavour to stand up to meats in sandwiches and salad ingredients. It is very versatile and delicious.

Smoked Oka, another great Quebec cheese

Smoked Cheese

Smoked Oka cheese is a firm cheese with a mild flavour, but the smoked rind gives the cheese a richer, more robust flavour. The actual cheese flavour is buttery and milk, but the smoke adds a slightly acidic, tangy, nutty flavour to the cheese that is delicious. You can also buy classic Oka which is not smoked.

How did Oka start?

The story of Oka cheese is very similar to that of Saint-Paulin as they both came from the same recipe for Port-du-Salut cheese brought to Quebec by Trappist monks. The Trappist abbey in Oka, Quebec, was struggling financially and one of the monks from France, Brother Alphonse, brought the recipe for Port-du-Salut, in 1893, tweaked it for Canadian conditions and taught the monks how to make the cheese which was named Oka. The cheese is still made at the Abbey in Oka, however, the Canadian company Agropur took over the production of the cheese in 1981.

Like many Quebec kinds of cheese, Oka has won awards including first place in the British Empire Cheese Show in 2016.

Pairings for Oka cheese

Smoked Oka cheese, with the mild but smokey flavour, is a good pairing for a dry white wine, light to brown beer and fruity red wine. Smoked Oka also goes well with coffee, black tea and mango juice. It goes well with pasta, in fondue, in salads, sandwiches and casseroles or on its own with nuts and most fruits, especially fruits with a slightly stronger flavour profile like kiwi, mango and pineapple.

La Tomme d’Elles, a creative and great Quebec cheese

Sheep Cheese
Sheep Cheese

This cheese is a semi-firm cheese made with a mixture of cow, and sheep’s milk. It has a medium-strong flavour, somewhat salty, slightly herby taste with a slight tang from the sheep milk. It is very good.

La Tomme d’Elles has won best cheese in the blended milk category for the 2011 Sélection CASEUS competition among others.

How did La Tomme d’Elles start

This cheese, La Tomme d’Elles, is more recent. The cheese has been in production since 1994 and was created by a Mr Maurice Dufour who started the artisan cheese factory, Famille Migneron de Charlevoix. (link in French)

Pairings for La Tomme d’Elles

Since La Tomme d’Elles has a fairly robust flavour, it can be paired with drinks and foods that have stronger flavour profiles. La Tomme d’Elles does well with fruity or mildly robust red wines, medium-strength beers like red and brown beers. For non-alcoholic choices, La Tomme d’Elles goes well with black tea, coffee, and stronger flavour juices like mango or pineapple. As well, this cheese will go very well with a meat platter and with a stronger flavour bread like sourdough or rye. The cheese could also work shredded on a leek or spinach soup or in a moderately flavourful casserole.

Délices des Appalaches, one of my favourite Quebec cheeses

Le Délices des Appalaches is so-named because it is made in a region of Quebec called the Appalachians which is in the south-centre region of Quebec about 2 hours east of Montreal. The cheese is a semi-firm, lactose-free cheese with a tangy flavour. The fruity, tangy flavour comes from the washing of the rind in ice cider produced in the region (link text in French). It has a unique flavour, slightly tangy, slightly citrusy and is really worth trying.

Le Délices des Appalaches has won awards. Most recently, second place in the British Empire Cheese Competition 2018 and a Silver Medal in the World Cheese Awards 2015.

How did Le Délices des Appalaches start?

For seven generations, the Dubois family has been living in the region and making cheese. The family prides themselves on creating unique cheeses that delight the taste buds. All of the cheeses produced by the company, called Rang 9, are lactose-free and unique.

Pairings for Le Délices de Appalaches

This is a versatile cheese that would go well with a sweet or dry white wine and almost any red from fruity to robust. The cheese would go well in sandwiches, with nuts and on almost any salad, especially salads with ingredients that have a stronger flavour like onion, arugula, escarole, spinach and kale.

Some of these cheeses are available in other parts of Canada, but not all. I haven’t been able to find a way for people outside of Quebec to enjoy these great Quebec cheeses. You will just have to come here when the pandemic is voer.

Enjoy these cheeses and leave for comments below.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Vegetable Stock And Variations

Making vegetable stock is so easy and so delicious. It can be made in several different ways. Plus it is inexpensive and makes use of vegetable parts and liquids that we often throw out. Below you have the variations on vegetable stock with the do’s and don’ts specific to vegetable stock. Try all the variations.

Vegetable Stock
Vegetable Stock

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Revised Oct. 24, 2020, originally published October 11, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

How To Make Classic Vegetable Stock

This is a liquid broth made from vegetables. It is useful as a base for soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, pasta and gravies.

Ingredients for Classic Vegetable Stock 

3 carrots, washed & peeled

4 celery sticks, washed & peeled

1 large or 2 small potatoes, washed & peeled

1 onion, peeled

1/3 celery root, washed & peeled

6 Litres (24 cups) of water

30 mL (2 tbsp) vegetable stock concentrate

Herb mix

Juice from 1/2 lemon

15 mL (1 tbsp) white vinegar, if desired

1/2 grated lemon rind, if desired

Note: You can use more water but the stock will be less concentrated.

Preparation Of Classic Vegetable Stock

Chop the vegetables into large pieces and put them in a stockpot. Add the water, a dash of salt and pepper. Put on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. The vegetable stock concentrate, herb mix, lemon juice and white vinegar will be added later.

Let the stock cool for 20 minutes. Ladle the vegetables into a sieve that you hold over the pot or over a bowl. Do this until all the vegetables are removed. Add the vegetable stock concentrate, a dash of herb mix, the lemon juice, white vinegar and lemon rind. Add a little more salt & pepper to taste.

Taste the soup and add more seasoning if desired.

Cool and use or put into containers to freeze. Do not keep in the fridge for more than four days.

This recipe gives you 20 to 21 cups, 5 Litres, of stock.

How To Make Variations on Classic Vegetable Stock

You can make variations on the classic vegetable stock to use up vegetable pieces that you have in your fridge.

Ingredients for Variations on Classic Vegetable Stock

Before you start, choose if you want to make a mild stock or a strong-flavoured stock. If you make a strong-flavoured stock, then it may not work in all your dishes.

Take vegetables that you like, and generally ones that have a somewhat mild flavour, like:

    • carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, parsnips, celery, celery root, zucchini, and squashes

You can also use vegetables that have a stronger flavour like:

    • mushrooms, spinach, kale, carrot top greens, bell peppers, onion, garlic, leek and other strongly-flavoured vegetables
    • Water
    • White vinegar
    • Salt

Preparation Of Variations of Classic Vegetable Stock

Wash, peel and chop the vegetables into chunks. The chunks do not need to be bite-size. Add the vegetables to a stockpot. Add water until you have twice as much water as vegetables. Add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

I don’t add more seasoning at this point, because you can always add more seasoning when you use the broth.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Let cool for 20 minutes with the lid off. With a strainer and a bowl, remove the vegetables from the stock and let the liquid drain over the bowl.

When the vegetables have drained put the stock in the bowl back into the pan and put in your containers. The stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen.

Tip: The main caution is to select your vegetables for the stock that have flavours that work together.

Note: Turnip can be used but it has a strong flavour.

Note: Also, carrot tops and zucchini can make your brother bitter. I only add a few and do not simmer the stock for more than 20 minutes. Generally vegetable stock should simmer for more than 20 to 40 minutes.

How To Make Thick Vegetable Stock

This kind of stock is where you will blend the cooked vegetables into the liquid instead of removing them and putting them to waste. This stock is almost like a soup, and it can be used as a base for soups or stews, but it would not work as a base for sauces or gravies. It would work with some casseroles, but not all depending on the flavour and thickness.

Because you are going to blend the vegetables into the liquid, you need to be careful about the flavours and colours. Generally, you will want to only use one or two vegetables to make this thick stock.

Also, I generally don’t mix colours because it makes the stock go an ugly brown colour that is not appetizing. You could mix:

    • tomato, red bell pepper, carrots and beets, if desired
    • green pepper, spinach, celery
    • potatoes, leeks
    • mushrooms, onions

I would not mix red bell pepper & spinach, as an example, unless I was going to use it in a casserole or pasta dish with those vegetables.

Also, for potatoes, you may not want to use a potato stock with all your dishes. Potato stock tends to be thick, but it can be good in some dishes.

Zucchini and greens can go bitter when cooked for a long time.

Follow the preparation instructions above, but blend the vegetables into the liquid, instead of removing them.

Note: You want to have a large ratio of liquid to vegetables if you are going to purée the vegetables into the stock. Otherwise, it will be very thick and more like a soup.

How To Make Stock From Leftover Vegetables & Throwaways

You can also make stock from some parts of a vegetable that you throw away and from liquid leftover from cooking vegetables.

When you boil potatoes, carrots or other vegetables, you can keep that liquid for stock instead of throwing it out. I have a plastic bottle that I keep in the freezer and when I have liquid leftover from cooking vegetables, I let it cool then put it in the bottle. When the bottle is full or when I need stock, I use that liquid.

Other parts of vegetables that we throw away like carrot greens, celery tops, leek greens, can also be used to make stock. Instead of throwing them out, put them in a storage bag in the freezer and when you have enough make Classic Vegetable Stock with the leftovers.

If you have vegetables that are near the end of their life and you don’t want to use them as a vegetable, you can freeze them and use them to make stock. For example, celery that has gone soft can be used for stock instead of throwing it out. Don’t make stock from rotten vegetables, as it will taste rotten.

Follow the preparation instructions for Classic Vegetable Broth Above.

Equipment Needed To Make Stock

A stockpot is very useful because the making of a stock involves a lot of water. Having a good-sized stockpot means that you can make bigger batches, which is more efficient.

Check out these links with the tools you need to make Vegetable Stock.

Stock Pot, 20 quart

Stock Pot, 16 quart

Stock Pot, 12 Quart

Soup Ladle, stainless steel with a cool, grip handle

Soup Ladle, silicone

Strainer, metal

Strainer, silicone collapsible

Stainless Steel Bowl Set with Lids

Oxo Easy-Grip Bowls 3-Set

I really like plastic containers for freezing stock, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.

Rubbermaid Plastic Food Storage Containers, set of 21

 

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

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